By: Amanda Guarragi
There are medieval tales that capture the essence of the nobility and honour within the kingdom. We have been told the stories of powerful rulers, gallant knights, and bewitching women. David Lowery’s The Green Knight, shows the journey of King Arthur’s (Sean Harris) headstrong nephew, Sir Gawain (Dev Patel) as he embarks on a daring quest to confront the Green Knight, a mysterious giant who appears at Camelot. It is a journey of a noble knight, seeking honor and validation from his King. Through its symbolism and stunning imagery, Gawain is placed in a dreamlike plain to explore the true meaning of Knighthood.
First and foremost, this perfectly suits the A24 library. It almost feels like the most polished entry. The Green Knight is a very simple tale, but it’s David Lowery’s direction and Andrew Droz Palermo cinematography that elevates the entire film. Like any medieval story, there is witchcraft involved, which allowed Lowery to have a multilayered story through powerful imagery. We do get the surface level of Gawain’s journey, after he beheads the Green Knight, he must wait a whole year, before he receives the same fate in return. The witchcraft comes into play when testing our noble knight out in the forest. Not only is this Gawain’s journey, but the audience is experiencing this journey in a different way.
From the moment this film begins, Lowery brings you into the world he has created. You are fully immersed in the time period, the Kingdom, and the medieval lore. It feels like you are entering a different realm and it works beautifully. Gawain flows in and out of reality, we see the witchcraft take hold of his mind, showing him two different paths, the easy one and the difficult one. What would a young knight do to achieve greatness, to achieve honour? How far would he be willing to go? Again, it’s simple on the surface, but once you peel back these layers, and dive into these obstacles in such a visceral way, the moral judgement shifts.
The Green Knight explores knighthood and the obstacles one might face to prove themselves honourable. Things such as love, lust, and greed, can all cloud one’s judgement, it is all how you choose to overcome those obstacles. These aspects can most definitely parallel anyone’s decisionmaking and that is why it’s such a wonderful journey. As the viewer, you will completely lose yourself in the beautiful imagery on scenic landscapes on screen. And when the third act challenges Gawain, you end up questioning how you would approach his situation. The story has so much depth because of the visual storytelling. It’s hauntingly beautiful and the journey will leave you fulfilled.